I'm a fairly recent and very inexperienced computer science graduate from a great public university, and I need some job advice. At the moment, I'd like to get into game development (specifically on the iPhone side of things), but I'm also interested in music and composition, mathematical art, animation, photography, and cinema, as well as archiving to some extent. What's a good job for me, and how do I get it?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, all the interests I've listed above are just that -- interests -- and I have no significant experience with any of them, except for a second major in music. On the CS side, things don't look too rosy either: I never met with any of my professors when I was still in school, and I don't have any job experience or interesting projects under my belt. This is particularly discouraging when so many job listings demand knowledge of a ton of different languages and paradigms, in addition to n+ years of experience with some field-specific thing. All I can really say for myself is "knows how to program, willing to quickly learn the details."
Another thing: CS geek culture terrifies me, it really does. I'm not an xkcd-style nerd; when I program, I enjoy the craftsmanship and discovery, but I don't spend my days learning about obscure algorithms or messing around with the Linux kernel. (I do, however, often read programming blogs and peruse Stack Overflow, even though many of the topics are beyond my experience.) Math and logic puzzles generally bore and confuse me, and I viscerally hate Google's (purported) interview questions. Unfortunately, most of the CS people I know are exactly my opposite, and if the industry is full of them, I’m afraid I might not be a serious or knowledgeable enough candidate.
In other words, I'm as green as they get, and I'm not quite sure how to get hired. I suppose I could spend a few months working on personal or open-source projects (already started developing my own iOS game, but finishing it will take a long while) and reading a few good CS books (currently starting on Code Complete and Programming Pearls), but I'd like to begin earning my own money in the industry as soon as possible -- especially since I've been basically sitting on my butt for the past year. (I graduated last spring.)
(I should specify: I haven't applied to very many jobs over the past year [maybe 20-30], but I've gotten technical phone screens for a good handful of them, so I suppose my resume and cover letter aren't too shabby. Unfortunately, I've only gotten one in-person interview so far, which I guess means that I lack the specific technical skills that these companies require.)
I'd definitely like to make money as a game developer at some point, but I'm thinking perhaps it would be more fun on my own, as an indie developer. (In the future, not immediately.) As I mentioned above, I'm also very interested in the arts, and I'd love to hear any and all suggestions for other creative tech jobs I could pursue. One thing I definitely don’t want to be doing is IT.
To summarize: how do I get hired with my very limited CS experience, and more generally, what sorts of jobs could I be looking for? Here’s a throwaway e-mail, just in case: M8Rfirstname.lastname@example.org
If it matters, this is in or around the Bay Area.